Thursday, 6 December 2012

Wally Byam

      Wallace Byam, born July 4, 1896 in Baker City, Oregon, was the inventor of the Airstream Clipper, one of the first travel trailers. From a very young age, Wally enjoyed travelling with his grandfather on long trips. As a young man, he was a shepherd, living in a cart with a cook stove, sleeping bag and wash tub. Becoming a magazine publisher, in the late 20s sold sets of plans for a do-it-yourself travel trailer for $5 as well as complete kits and fully-assembled models he built in his back yard. After being involved in the sale of the Bowlus "Road Chief", Byam founded Airstream Co. and bought The Bowlus Company in 1935 and started re-marketing their flagship trailer, slightly modified, under a different name. Thus, the Clipper was born.

      Airstream Co. was the only travel trailer company to survive the Great Depression. On the onset of World War II, Byam stopped the production of Airstream models and used his experience in aluminum fabricating in the aircraft industry. When the war ended, Byam re-opened his doors and the production of Airstream trailers hasn't stopped since.

Wally Byam died at the age of 66 on 22 July, 1962 of a brain tumour.

"History." Airstream, Inc. Airstream, Inc., n.d. Web. 14 Nov 2012. <>

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